Leeds College of Building (@WeAre_LCB) has welcomed its first degree apprenticeship cohort to South Bank Campus. 

In total, nine BAM Nuttall employees will start the new BSc Hons Civil Engineering – Site Management degree apprenticeship. Validated by Leeds Beckett University, this is the first time a Level 6 apprenticeship has been offered by the College.

Working in partnership with Leeds Beckett University and the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), the College is now delivering a bespoke programme designed to meet the needs of the civil engineering industry. The first bespoke group to enrol on the degree apprenticeship are employees from BAM Nuttall who work at sites from York to Kent. All have already attained a Level 5 Higher National Diploma (HND) with the College. 

The degree apprenticeship develops graduate skills, providing opportunities to work on major projects across England. As exemplified by the BAM-dedicated cohort, practical work includes long-term frameworks such as Network Rail projects in the South, the West, and Transpennine routes in the Midlands, as well as Environment Agency Flood Alleviation Schemes in Leeds, and major projects including the Tideway Tunnel Super Sewer under the River Thames.

Utilising a blended learning approach, apprentices will study for six independent blocks throughout the year, two of which are taught online. This creative delivery model means employees from a variety of backgrounds and projects can participate and learn from anywhere in the UK.

Nikki Davison, Degree Apprenticeship Development Curriculum Manager at Leeds College of Building, said:

“This is an exciting development for Leeds College of Building. The programme is the first degree-level apprenticeship that we have offered, providing a natural extension and additional progression route for our students from Level 3 up to Level 6. 

“We’re extremely grateful for the support of our key partners and look forward to continuing our vital work together. This programme will help more engineers to enhance their careers while filling vital skills gaps in the industry.”

Paul Skerry, BAM’s UK Early Careers & Professional Development Manager, said: 

“As this is a dedicated BAM Nuttall cohort, the College has created bespoke modules relevant to our business and the work we deliver for our clients. This means the course better aligns to our operations and needs of our projects, making it an effective and efficient way for our people to develop their skills and build their careers.

“We’re delighted we’ve attracted a higher-than-average proportion of female apprentices, compared to equivalent undergraduate opportunities, as we continue to aim for gender parity in the construction industry. The degree apprenticeship also helps us continue improving diversity as it offers an additional route into higher-level training not previously accessible to some employees, which suits their needs better.

“This programme is a great example of a collaborative partnership with all parties pulling in the same direction. We worked together to remove any barriers to learning and make this new pathway a possibility. We’re hopeful there will be more choices for degree apprenticeship pathways in the future, which is a very exciting proposition for BAM and our people.”

Regional director for ICE Yorkshire and Humber, Steena Nasapen-Watson, said:

“It is always encouraging for the civil engineering profession when an apprenticeship training provider is able to offer further opportunities for potential and current apprentices to learn and progress towards professional qualification through the apprenticeship route. 

“This new offer helps strengthen the apprenticeship model as an alternative pathway to an internationally recognised qualification which demonstrates high levels of capability and commitment.”

The distinct civil engineering pathway combines academic study at degree level with practical on-the-job experience. The qualification is aimed at those wishing to progress careers in civil engineering site management, project management, or for government agencies, local authorities, and modelling specialists.

Degree apprentices work towards an end-point assessment with the Institution of Civil Engineers. On successful completion, students can achieve the sought-after Incorporated Engineer (IEng) accreditation, a title acquired by professionally recognised civil engineers.

The degree apprenticeship takes up to three and a half years to complete depending on previous qualifications; BAM employees will finish in just two and a half years.

The College’s in-house apprenticeship team is available to support employers and apprentices with understanding the apprenticeship levy, recruitment of apprentices, and providing support during an apprentice’s training.

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